Is there a place in the UK that actually comes close to encapsulating the essence of Hogwarts in real life? George Heriot School in Edinburgh may have inspired Hogwarts with its turrets and house system, but that’s where the similarities end. I think that the Harry Potter Oxford locations, both places that did and didn’t appear in the film, are the most reminiscent of the famous wizarding school.
Most of the credit should go to the University of Oxford. This historic and prestigious educational institution sprawls across the entire city meaning there are cinematic and picturesque buildings everywhere. You can’t even turn your head without spotting another architectural marvel designed by Christopher Wren or a cute cobbled side street. The location scouts for the Harry Potter franchise knew what they were doing when they chose to film here.
And the great news is, you can visit ALL the Oxford University Harry Potter filming locations! Yes, there are four Harry Potter Oxford locations in total and they are all in a university building open to the public. There are also University of Oxford Harry Potter locations that inspired studio sets.
This self-guided Oxford Harry Potter Tour will show you exactly where those locations are. It will also tell you everything you need to know so you can visit them all, based on my own trip to Oxford. So, grab your Nimbus 2000 or a handful of Floo powder and let’s explore the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Oxford! I’ve even a created Harry Potter Oxford Locations map you can follow too.
Where Was Harry Potter Filmed in Oxford?
Every Single Harry Potter Oxford Filming Location
1. New College Cloisters and Oak Tree
Which Film? Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)
Let’s start your self-guided walking tour of Harry Potter at Oxford here! Several cloisters from cathedrals and castles all over England have stood in for Hogwarts’s courtyard. In the Goblet of Fire, New College stepped in. Contrary to its name, New College isn’t actually very new because it dates back to 1379. But it was the second college dedicated to St Mary (the older being Oriel College) so everyone began calling it the New College and the name stuck.
No doubt the huge 200-year-old oak tree that casts a long shadow over the courtyard was one of the features that attracted the Harry Potter production team to the New College Cloisters. Because so synonymous with its 15 minutes of fame in Harry Potter, many people refer to it as the ‘Harry Potter Tree.’
This Oxford Harry Potter location appears in the scenes where Harry walks past students wearing ‘Potter Stinks’ badges. It’s where Draco sits in the tree and Mad-Eye Moody turns him into a ferret. And it’s also where Harry warns Cedric about the dragons in the first Triwizard Tournament task.
Tickets and Opening Times
All the information you need to visit this location is on the New College Website. Do check the website ahead of your trip as they sometimes close for private events. You don’t need to book ahead they take card payments only at the New College Lane entrance.
I’ll be honest, I visited the college by myself on a weekday and waltzed right in without paying. To be fair, the guard wasn’t at his desk. And I assume if he did see me he might’ve thought I was a student because of my huge backpack.
Entrance Fees: £8 for adults, £7 for concessions and free to Oxford residents and University of Oxford alumni.
Visiting Hours: 10:30 – 17:00 every day in summer. 13:30 – 16:30 every day except Mondays when they are closed in winter.
2. The Divinity School at the Bodleian Library
Which Films? Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)
Only a four-minute walk around the corner from New College is the Divinity School. It was the University of Oxford’s first proper lecture hall and classroom. It has a striking van-faulted Gothic ceiling decorated with religious icons and the family crests of donators to the school. One-half of the school has dark wooden benches where the students would memorise passages for exams. Paper was pricey in 1488 when the school opened!
Today, it’s part of the university’s Bodleian Library complex and one of the most iconic and beloved Harry Potter Oxford locations. It appeared in the first three movies (Philosopher’s Stone, Chamber of Secrets, and Prisoner of Azkaban) as the Hospital Wing. In Goblet of Fire, it appeared as the practice room where McGonagall teaches the students how to dance before the Yule Ball. And finally, it appears again as the Hospital Wing after Ron drinks the poisoned wine in Half-Blood Prince.
Tickets and Opening Times
There are two ways you can visit the Divinity School and both of them require booking tickets beforehand. I strongly suggest you book as far in advance as you can as tickets always sell out.
Option 1: Book a timeslot to see the Divinity School only. It’s open Monday – Friday from 9:00 – 17:00, Saturdays from 10:00 – 17:00 and Sundays from 11:00 – 17:00. Tickets are £2.50 each. Timeslots are available to book around one month in advance and you are limited to 15-minute visits. Book your timeslot here.
Option 2: Book a 30-minute guided library tour to see the Divinity School and Duke Humfrey’s Library. There are also 60-minute and 90-minute library tours that include these locations plus others, but the 30-minute tour covers the only two Harry Potter locations in the library and it’s the one I booked. They run twice a day (around 10:00 and 15:00), sometimes three in peak times, with very limited numbers. Tickets are £9 and tours are available to book around one month in advance. Book your library tour here.
3. Duke Humfrey’s Library at the Bodleian Library
Which Film? Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001)
Sitting right on top of the Divinity School is Duke Humfrey’s Library and Reading Room. The University of Oxford built Duke Humfrey’s Library just after they built the Divinity School to house a collection of books left to the university by Humphrey of Lancaster when he died in 1447.
This library doubles as the Hogwarts Library and the Restricted Section when Harry uses the invisibility cloak to sneak into the library over the Christmas holidays. I thought that the library also stood in for library scenes in later films like Chamber of Secrets, Goblet of Fire and Half-Blood Prince. But the library tour guide said it only closed for three days of filming and the students were outraged by just those three days. So I doubt they allowed it to close again! I imagine they used sets inspired by Duke Humfrey’s Library in the later films.
Tickets and Opening Times
You can only visit Duke Humfrey’s Library by booking a place on one of the library tours with the Divinity School. Note that there are strictly no photos allowed in this Harry Potter Oxford University location because it’s a working reading room.
But… I managed to sneak a few shots by opening up the camera setting on my phone before entering the library and taking them from behind my back. I know, I’m such a badass. But no one else is in any of the shots (they’re also not very good haha). And I didn’t hold up the tour, so I don’t feel too bad!
4. Bodley Staircase and Hall at Christ Church College
Which Films? Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)
Walk 10-minutes south of the Bodleian Library and you’ll reach Christ Church College. It’s one of the most popular colleges to visit at the University of Oxford, not just because it’s one of the best Harry Potter locations in Oxford. It has a huge quad and a clocktower designed by Christopher Wren (the architect who designed St Paul’s Cathedral in London).
But it’s the staircase in Bodley Tower that will attract those seeking Harry Potter locations in Oxford. It stands in for the Great Hall’s Staircase. This is the staircase where Harry rejects Draco’s offer of a handshake before entering the Great Hall for the first time in Philosopher’s Stone. This is also where McGonagall catches Harry and Ron as they are late for the sorting hat ceremony in Chamber of Secrets and a few other scenes from both movies too.
The Bodley Tower Staircase does actually lead to Christ Church Hall which is supposedly the inspiration for Hogwarts’s Great Hall. But of course, the Great Hall you see in the movies is a sound stage which you can now explore at the Warner Bros Studio Tour.
Tickets and Opening Times
All the information you need to visit this location is on the Christ Church College Website. Do check the website ahead of your trip as they sometimes close specific sections or the entire college for private events. They only release tickets for bookings the following week at 9:00 every Friday. You must book your ticket for a timeslot in advance as they will likely sell out. Head to the Christ Church Gift Shop 10 minutes before your time slot to get your audio guide which acts as your ticket.
Entrance Fees: £16 for adults, £15 for concessions. They have an inflated “on the door” fee too if, by some miracle, they haven’t sold all their tickets.
Visiting Hours: 10:00 – 17:30 with the last entry timeslot of 15:45. Apart from the closing time, there is no limit on how long you can spend at Christ Church. Note that the hall is closed between 12:00 and 14:00 every weekday. Cathedral closures are also common.
Join a Harry Potter Oxford Tour of the Filming Locations
Would you prefer to join a Harry Potter tour in Oxford instead of a DIY tour? You absolutely can and Get Your Guide is the place to find the right tour for you! There are tons of Harry Potter tour Oxford options so you can explore the filming locations with a knowledgeable guide without having to worry about tickets and timeslots.
This two-hour Harry Potter Walking Tour includes Christ Church College and the Divinity School. And this Harry Potter Tour includes guided visits to New College and the Divinity School. Unfortunately, you won’t find any Harry Potter tours in Oxford that visit every single location. The University of Oxford run the only tours that visit Duke Humfrey’s Library!
That’s why I recommend you use the information in this Harry Potter Oxford locations guide and embark on your own walking tour. I saw all four locations in one afternoon and it would be even more doable if you had a whole day to spare. I visited New College first, then visited Christ Church College with a 13:00 timeslot (but waited around until the Hall opened at 14:00). Then, I walked over to the Bodleian Library for my 15:00 tour. Perfect!
Oxford Harry Potter Shops Where You Can Spend Your Sickles
If you cannot resist buying Harry Potter merch whenever you see it, your wallet will shrink considerably after your trip to Oxford! There are lots of Harry Potter shops in Oxford that sell all types of nick-nacks and clothing relating to the Wizarding World. Check out Flaggs, The Shop of Secrets, House of Wonders and Watsons of Oxford. They’re all marked on the Google Map at the top of this post.
But keep in mind that you probably don’t need any more Harry Potter paraphernalia cluttering your home! It doesn’t make you any less of a fan.
More Harry Potter Filming Location & Inspiration Guides
I’ve visited a fair few Harry Potter filming locations all over the UK, including every single location in Scotland. If you’re also a Potterhead who is keen to visit more locations, I will probably have the perfect Harry Potter location guide for you.
And that’s my Harry Potter Oxford self-guided walking tour! Are you a fan of Harry Potter and are you visiting Oxford soon? Let me know in the comments below!